The Essence In One Sentence

How many times have you been asked what you’re writing now? Friends want to know. Family wants to know. Publishers want to know. Editors want to know. But no one wants to stand around for the better part of an hour as you ramble on about your present work in progress. They want the short, sweet, economy version.

They want the logline, that one-sentence capsule explanation. They want the elevator pitch, that very short description of your story that got its name because it’s your story told briefly enough that you can use it to pitch your book to an acquisitions editor in the time it takes an elevator to go from one floor to the next. Not much time, but it should be enough for any listener to know what they will find between the covers if they pick up your book and start reading.

Because the elevator pitch, the logline, the short, sweet economy version is the essence of whatever you are writing. It’s what the story is about, the most important thing, the nugget of truth hidden in all those words.

So think about your story. Think long and hard. Think about both the story itself and the emotional impact you want your readers to feel when they read it. Because those two things put together are the essence of your story. They are what you should tell people.

“The clash of Roman and barbarian civilizations and the impact on two lovers caught up in the sacking of Rome.”

“The effect of small town life on two people with opposite world views and how lazy days in the sun makes them realize how similar they are after all.”

See what I mean. Include both the emotional and the plot in one sentence and you just might have listeners … and eventually readers … hooked.

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